Peter Copas and Shannon Nestor at a road safety demo at Urangan State High School yesterday.
Peter Copas and Shannon Nestor at a road safety demo at Urangan State High School yesterday.

Crash sparks road safety campaign

AS A TOW truck driver, Peter Copas has seen more than his fair share of horrific car crashes over the years.

But no amount of experience could prepare him for the time it happened to be his step-daughter in the crumpled car.

Shannon Nestor and her three teenage friends know they’re lucky to be alive after their vehicle skidded along a wet road and slammed into a stationary ute on March 2.

She was the backseat passenger when the silver Mazda sedan slid off Colyton Street in Torquay and struck the other vehicle.

The 17-year-old ended up with a cracked rib and nine stitches around her eye.

Mr Copas, of Wide Bay Towing and Salvage, is thankful he was not the first towie on the scene, as a colleague was able to pre-warn him about Shannon’s involvement.

“If I was there first I would be selling my business,” he said.

“I know what other parents feel like now.

“I had to keep my cool for her mum, but when I got there it really hit me.”

The drama of seeing Shannon pulled from the wreck was enough to scare Mr Copas and he says it’s now his personal mission to better educate local school kids about the dangers of driving.

Yesterday he took some old cars to Urangan State High – Shannon’s school – and got the fire brigade to demonstrate for senior students how they cut up crashed cars while police talked about road safety.

“Every time there are Hervey Bay school kids involved in an accident in uniform, I’m going to approach their schools to do this,” Mr Copas said.

“I think it’s what might just wake the kids up.”

Shannon, who holds a learner licence, says her experience will make her more cautious the next time she drives.

She is hoping yesterday’s demonstration will create more awareness among her peers.

Mr Copas, a towie of 36 years, said: “If it saves one or two kids’ lives, I’ll be happy.”



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